COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (Dec. 21, 2016) – On the heels of impressive performances at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, the U.S. Olympic Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams will share the 2016 USA Basketball Team of the Year award.
The USA women, with Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings, captured a sixth-straight Olympic gold medal, while the USA men with Pacers star Paul George, brought home a third-straight gold. Catchings and fellow tri-captains Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi tied an Olympic basketball record with their fourth gold medal.
“The U.S. Olympic Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams achieved incredible milestones in Rio. It was the third consecutive Olympic gold for the men and a record-setting sixth in a row for the women,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO/Executive Director. “Both teams are very deserving of this recognition, and we are grateful for the commitments of everyone involved with these teams.”
2016 marks the 21st time USA Basketball has presented its Team of the Year award, which was established in 1986.
Featuring six players who averaged more than nine points per game, the USA women won eight games by an average of 37.2 points per contest from Aug. 6-20.
“What was special was just how incredibly deep and unselfish we were,” said Geno Auriemma, head coach of the U.S. Olympic Team and USA Women’s National Team and at University of Connecticut, as well as a 2016 USA Basketball Co-National Coach of the Year. “Obviously, we were the most talented team I have ever been around, but everyone was so willing to play their role and to not get caught up in any of the things that can get in the way when lots of good players are on the same team. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had coaching at any level. It’s an experience that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to recreate and that I will never forget.”
Led by four players who averaged double-digit scoring, the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team won its eight games by an average of 22.5 points per contest from Aug. 6-21.
“2016 was the best team I have ever been on.” – Diana Taurasi
“The 2016 USA Basketball Men’s National Team stuck together throughout the Olympics, overcoming significant inexperience in international competition,” said Mike Krzyzewski, head coach of the U.S. Olympic Team and the USA Men’s National Team and at Duke University, as well as a 2016 USA Basketball Co-National Coach of the Year. “Yet, they found a way to win every game. I was most proud that they saved their best for last in the gold medal game versus Serbia. That game showcased their full ability, and to perform that well under the brightest lights in international basketball said a ton about their character, togetherness and passion to represent their country in the best possible manner.”
Led by Auriemma with assistant coaches Doug Bruno, Cheryl Reeve and Dawn Staley, the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team featured Seimone Augustus, Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Tina Charles, Elena Delle Donne, Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner, Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Diana Taurasi and Lindsay Whalen.
“2016 was the best team I have ever been on,” said four-time Olympic gold medalist Taurasi, who was the 2016 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year. “Everyone had one goal and that was to make each other better every day.”
Among the 12-team tournament, the USA women led in points scored (817), field goal percentage (.577), 3-point percentage (.453), rebounds averaged (45.2), assists (224), field goal percentage defense (.371) and rebound defense (27.3).
The USA women recorded tournament bests for points (121 versus Senegal on Aug. 7); field goals made (47 against Japan on Aug. 16); field goal percentage (65.3 versus Japan on Aug. 16); free throw percentage (26-26 against Serbia on Aug. 10); and assists (40 versus China on Aug. 14).
The squad set U.S. Olympic women’s team single-game records for points (121 against Senegal on Aug. 16), 3-pointers made (11 against Japan on Aug. 16), free throw percentage (26-of-26 against Serbia on Aug. 10) and assists (40 against China on Aug. 14).
In the U.S. women’s Olympic single-competition record book, the team set records for field goals made (324), field goal percentage (.577), 3-pointers made (58), 3-pointers attempted (128), free throw percentage (.776) and assists (224).
The USA Women’s National Team also tallied four exhibition victories, including an 88-84 win over the USA Select Team on July 25 in Los Angeles; an 84-62 victory against France on July 27 in Delaware; an 83-43 defeat of Canada on July 29 in Connecticut; and a 104-89 win over Australia on July 31 in New York City.
Led by Krzyzewski with assistants Jim Boeheim, Tom Thibodeau and Monty Williams and managing director Jerry Colangelo, the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team featured Carmelo Anthony, Harrison Barnes, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins, DeMar DeRozan, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Draymond Green, Kyrie Irving, DeAndre Jordan, Kyle Lowry and Klay Thompson.
“I think the special part about it was our comradery,” said Durant, one of the USA’s two captains and a co-recipient of the 2016 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year Award. “All of us still stay in contact to this day, and we were such a tight group. We were brothers from day one. We all wanted the same thing, which was to get a gold medal, and we fought for that. I’ll be forever linked with those guys, and we are always going to be family.”
Among the 12-team tournament, the USA led in points scored (807), 3-point percentage (.369), rebounds averaged (45.5), steals (70), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.286) and blocked shots (28).
The USA recorded tournament bests for points scored (119 vs. China on Aug. 6), field goal attempts (89), free throws made (33, twice), free throws attempted (45 vs. China on Aug. 6), rebounds (54, twice) and steals (15 vs. China on Aug. 6); and tied for first in field goals made (41) and 3-point field goals made (17).
The 2016 squad set a U.S. Olympic men’s team single-game record with 33 made free throws against Serbia on Aug. 12.
In the U.S. Olympic men’s single-competition record book, the team set a record for free throws made (168), rebounds (364) and rebounds averaged (45.5).
Additionally, the USA Men’s National Team tallied five exhibition victories, including a 111-74 win over Argentina on July 22 in Las Vegas; a 106-57 victory over China on July 24 in Los Angeles; a 107-57 defeat of China on July 26 in Oakland, California; an 80-45 win over Venezuela on July 29 in Chicago; and a 110-66 victory against Nigeria on Aug. 1 in Houston.